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Saturday 16 December 2017

Irish airports may close as volcanic ash cloud drifts across Atlantic

Volcanic ash from Iceland looks like causing more problems in Irish airspace over the next few days with three regional airports to close from this morning.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) warned yesterday afternoon that the ash cloud was drifting towards Ireland from the North Atlantic.

The authority said the cloud is likely to be over the west coast today and as a result Sligo, Donegal and Ireland West (Knock) airports may close this morning. Passengers planning to fly over the coming days have been told to regularly check airline websites and the IAA website,

However, there may be more problems for Irish travellers if the British close part of their airspace.

The UK government said parts of British airspace may have to close from Sunday until Tuesday due to volcanic ash from Iceland.

Different parts of the country's airspace -- including the south east where Europe's busiest airport, Heathrow, is located -- are likely to be closed at different times, the British Department for Transport said.

"Due to continuing volcanic activity in Iceland and prevailing weather conditions, there is -- if the volcano continues to erupt at current levels -- a risk of UK airspace closures," the department said in a statement.

If restrictions become necessary, an announcement will be made by the British National Air Traffic Service, it added.

UK transport minister Philip Hammond said yesterday that from now on five-day rather than the previous 18-hour ash prediction charts would be made available to airlines and the public.

Met Eireannn, meanwhile, said the activity of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano continues and the plume is currently reaching up to between 20,000ft and 30,000ft.

Sunday Independent

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